Hermione Granger was washing dishes from that night's meal. She enjoyed the relaxing warm water on her skin as she mindlessly washed plates. She used this down time to reflect on her decisions. Currently, she was debating whether or not she was right to have taken the job as Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She was making strides for magical creature's rights, but she had to think of the rights of muggle-borns like herself too. Old pureblood laws were still in place and needed to be eradicated. But will all her work for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical be thrown away? She wasn't sure the new head of her old department was up to the task. But which one is of more importance?
She was interrupted from her musings by a tap at the window. She quickly finished her last dish and dried her hands. With a wave of her wand, the window opened and Kingsley's great gray owl swooped in with a small note tied to it's leg. Slightly worried, Hermione untied the letter from the owl and gave it a piece of leftover chicken. She recieved a happy hoot before the owl soared back out the window. She hesitated a bit before tearing open the letter. What if the marriage law cannot be undone? Or is he telling her that he is not happy enough with her work and he's sending her back to her old department?
I have found someone to help you crack the Muggle Marriage Act. I know he doesn't have the brightest history with you, but he has access to much more information than we do. You are to meet Mr. Malfoy at his manor tomorrow around noon. You can take the day off to discuss our issue with him. Floo to the address below and he will meet you to take you through the Malfoy Manor wards.
Minister of Magic"
Hermione was glad that Ron had to work late so that he could not see her freeze and mentally freak out. She prided herself on being an open-minded person that believed that anyone can change, but will the old childhood rivalry come out? Had he really changed? He kept a low profile for the past 5 years. Can she handle going back into the same mansion she was once tortured in with the same person that only stood and watched those atrocities? What if he has changed? Can she handle treating Malfoy as anything other that a bigoted prick?
Hermione looked at the clock on the wall: 10:30. Had she really just stood there for an hour thinking about Malfoy? She sighed and began her nightly routine as she continued to overanalyze tomorrow's events. She was in bed, thinking of the possibilities of Malfoy locking her in his mansion and slowly killing her when the front door shut rather loudly. "Well, Ron's home," Hermione thought. Does she really want to explain to Ron that she will be spending tomorrow with Malfoy, who Ron cannot get over disliking 5 years later, and stay up all night arguing, or pretend to be asleep and tell him afterwards? She slowed her breathing and closed her eyes, feigning sleep, as he walked in quietly got ready for bed. He kissed her on the head before flopping down next to her.
This changed Hermione's train of thought. She was still trying to wrap her (very large) brain around her quickly approaching nuptials to her fiancé. It took two years of healing and rebuilding after the war for her and Ron to get back together. She decided to take the relationship slow. There's something about almost dying on many occasions that changed Hermione. She was in no hurry to get married quickly or have children. She wanted to enjoy dating, then being engaged. However, the ceremony will be in 4 months and it seems like time is passing all to quickly. Was she making the right decision? "Hermione, stop," she thought to herself. "You love Ron. You are going to marry him. Now, go to sleep or you're going to look like a hag when you meet Malfoy tomorrow." With that, Hermione fell into a dreamless sleep as usual.
"Have a great day at work," Hermione said as she kissed Ron. He smiled and pulled her into a hug, "You too, honey. Dinner together tonight. Okay?" He looked down at her with his goofy grin and she chuckled as she agreed. "Good. Love you!" He shouted on his way out of the door. "Love you too," she whispered as the door shut.
She was going to meet Malfoy in 4 hours and she wanted to have everything in order. Her old school girl came out and she picked out a great work outfit. It said 'I'm classy, intelligent, and attractive." It was like school reunions; she wanted to show him that she is still more intelligent than him, but she's not a "filthy mudblood", but a very attractive woman he can never have. All of her competitiveness was finally coming out as she looked in the mirror. Her hair fell into curls, not just a brown mass. The dark grey skirt was modest, but showed off her well worked calves, the white button up shirt was smart, and hinted that she has indeed filled out since she was 17. Paired with a slightly more daring pair of maroon pumps and a light, smoky peacoat, she looked dang good, even if she was slightly biased.
Hermione flooed to the ministry to pick up her notes on the marriage law and get some advice from her best friend, Harry. The elevator ride was excruciating. She had 6 memos peg her in the head, and the elevator stopped on every floor. Once she got to the 5th floor, she quickly walked into her office to retrieve the paperwork and hurry on to Harry's office in the Auror's office.
"Hey, Hermione. You're actually late today. Is something wrong?"
Hermione turned around to see her secretary, Joseph, wearing a concerted face. She laughed and told him the full story. "I have the day off as I am to be working at Malfoy Manor researching today." Joseph's face paled and he looked slightly scared.
"Why do you have to go there?"
"Don't worry. The Malfoy library simply has more information than the Ministry's library. I'll be fine. Promise." This seemed to appease the young man for the time being. Hermione took advantage of his slight pause, "Well I have to go talk to Harry, can you please take the documents on my desk about the muggle memory law and give them to Travis? They might help him." He smiled and nodded quickly, eager to take orders from the famous war hero. "Thank you," she called out on her way out of the office.
Another painful experience in the elevator got her to Harry's department with an hour to spare before she has to meet Malfoy. Hermione knocked quickly on his door before inviting herself in. She found a just woken up Harry lifting his messy hair out of his eyes. She giggled and sat across from him. "Having a slow day?" She asked.
"You don't even know," he groans. "Now why are you here exactly? Not to be rude, I just usually don't see you at work," he quickly amended himself.
"I have a bit of a predicament. I have to go to Malfoy manor to research a law. I don't think Kingsley would send me there unless it was a last resort, but I don't know how to handle it," she explained, then jumped and added, "oh! and don't tell Ron. I haven't told him yet because you know he'll throw a fit and I didn't have time for that last night."
"Well.." Harry begun as he contemplated the situation. "This is just a business deal, so treat it as that, but if he hurts you I will kill him." Hermione rolled her eyes at the last bit, but it was good advice. "If he calls you a you-know-what, ignore him. Don't let him bully you, but don't go in assuming that he hasn't changed since we were kids. But don't let it surprise you if he hasn't."
"When did you get so good at advice?" Hermione joked.
"Since I actually began listening to you," he laughed.
Hermione glanced down at her watch. 11:50.
"Oh! I have to go. Love you Harry!" she hollered as she ran out of the room.
The elevator couldn't seem to move slower as Hermione checked her watch every few seconds. She made it to the Floo with one minute to spare. She yelled, "155 Burberry Lane, Wiltshire!"
She stumbled out into a seemingly abandoned house in the country. She gripped her wand and immediately scanned her surroundings for threats. The war will never fully leave those it affected.
"Hello?" Hermione called, still on alert for potential attacks. A voice came from behind her, "Granger?"
Hermione swung around with wand out and a spell at the tip of her tongue as she pointed her wand at a very surprised Draco Malfoy.